FDR's Hot Dog Party With King George VI

Left to Right: Mrs Franklin D. Roosevelt; King George VI of England; Mrs. Sarah Roosevelt; Queen Elizabeth (the "Queen Mother"); and President Roosevelt.

In June of 1939, King George VI became the first reigning British monarch to visit the United States. The trip featured all the staples of a royal visit: a sight-seeing tour of Washington, a formal State Dinner, and a big bash at the British Embassy, of which Representative Charles J. Bell said, "It was sort of like our church socials in Missouri."

And towards the end of the trip, the Roosevelts invited the royals to Hyde Park for hot dogs. Here's what else was on the menu:


Sunday, June 11, 1939
Virginia Ham
Hot Dogs (if weather permits)
Smoked Turkey
Cranberry Jelly
Green Salad
Strawberry Shortcake
Coffee, Beer, Soft Drinks

[Source: FDR Presidential Library & Museum]

So if your Fourth of July plans involve hot dogs (or cranberry jelly), you can honestly say you're eating like a king. Happy Fourth!

Franklin Delano Roosevelt chauffeurs Queen Elizabeth, her husband King George VI, and his daughter-in-law, Betsey Roosevelt.

The FDR Library has lots more on the royal visit:
FDR's original invitation (pages one and two)
Transcript of King George VI's Handwritten Notes for a Memorandum on His Conversations with President Roosevelt on June 10 and 11, 1939
FDR's thank you telegram to King George VI
And you can read more general background on the visit here.


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Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

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